Vatican bank under fresh scrutiny
VATICAN CITY: Vatican Bank is under fresh scrutiny today after allegations of money-laundering caused police to confiscate £19 million from an account held with the private bank.
On 21 September, a team from the financial investigation arm of the Italian police seized the £ 19 million from an account at the Vatican Bank due to the bank's refusal to comply with money-laundering laws by providing information on the origin and destination of the amount.
Investigators also suspect members of the Vatican-based clergy may have been acting as front men for the Mafia and corrupt businessmen. Documents highlight two unreported transactions, the first in 2009 using a false name and involving a large sum and the second in 2010 involving a withdrawal of 650,000 euros without disclosure of the money's final destination.
It appears the bulk of the first amount, 20 million euros, was headed for a JP Morgan branch in Frankfurt, with the rest going to an account held at the Italian Banca del Fucino.
Prosecutors allege regulations stating foreign banks must inform the Italian authorities of the origins of funds transferred were ignored by the banks involved, which are at present declining to comment.
The seizure of assets is being referred to by the Vatican as a 'misunderstanding' with its officials expecting the matter to be resolved at an early date.
However, prosecutors state they are in possession of documents which clearly show the bank deliberately flouted strict money-laundering legislation by hiding the origin, destination and ownership of the money.
The allegations come at a bad time for the Vatican, no stranger to financial and Mafialinked scandals. -PB News